Using Mathematics to Help Buy a Car (Part 1 - the Intro)

Introduction

I have just returned from an overseas teaching post and I find myself in the position that I need to buy a car in order to get around. Almost everyone will be faced with a similar situation in their life at some point. I have done a lot of writing recently about how to make Mathematics Teaching more authentic and this is exactly the type of situation teachers could use.

So what are some of initial questions we need to be asking? 

So probably the first decision one needs to make when buying a car, is approximately what amount of money can your budget support for the purchase. In my particular case I am willing to spend between R80 000 and R110 000 cash. Then you need to decide are you going to buy a new or used car. Once you have made these two decisions, the number of options available should be greatly reduced and therefore your decision making should be easier. The videos below gives a nice feel for the tradeoffs between buying a new or used car.



Based on the rationale described in the videos, I would like to buy a used/pre owned car because I feel it offers better value when you consider depreciation and future maintenance costs. A lot of information provided in the video is in the American context. However similar information sources can be found in South Africa too. What we need to find for the South African context, is a reliable aggregator of resale values for the used car market and then a reliable aggregator of yearly maintenance costs for the different types of vehicles in the South African car market.
  • We also need to think about things like the cost of insurance? 
  • The resale value of the car? 
  • The current market conditions ? 
What a wonderfully authentic way to learn about Mathematics and do some inquiry to scaffold our learning? 

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